It’s no secret Josh Niland is a modern master of preparing and cooking fish. One of Australia’s most highly-regarded young chefs and the owner of celebrated Sydney restaurant Saint Peter, he’s a household name among Australian food diehards.
Now Niland is bringing his talents north to Gerard’s Bistro for a special one-night collaboration with the progressive Middle Eastern restaurant’s own star chef, Adam Wolfers. Niland and Wolfers will join forces on September 19 to prepare a 10-course menu (with optional matching wine) to coincide with the release of Niland’s upcoming book, The Whole Fish Cookbook: New Ways to Cook, Eat and Think.
It’s been a decade since the long-time friends worked together as apprentices at Sydney’s Est. Since then, both have carved out their own niche – Niland working his way through Quay, Cafe Nice, The Woods and Fish Face before opening Saint Peter in 2016; Wolfers turning heads at Marque, Monopole, Yellow and Ételek before moving north to Gerard’s – but a shared philosophy on sustainability remains at the centre of their respective kitchens.
“The overarching principle is that we try to throw as little in the bin as possible,” Niland says. “Regardless of … where it comes from and how it gets cooked, we are trying to make the food as delicious as we can and show people that there is great potential with every ingredient beyond what gets celebrated on a commercial level.
“It’s inspiring as a customer to eat something that may have otherwise been seen as waste or … that’s not overly normal or trafficked on everybody’s menu. It will be a really exclusive opportunity for everyone [in Brisbane] that night to eat something a little different.”
Niland’s courses will showcase just one type of fish. Pacific Reef cobia sourced from Bundaberg will be front and centre on the night, including aged cobia for the main course that Niland will prepare in Sydney and bring to Brisbane. Wolfers will offset the fish with a mix of his “Eastern European flavour profiles”.
Wolfers says while he and Niland favour different flavours and produce, they both agree – just one ingredient should be the star of the show.
“The concept is a lot of fun … [Josh] came up with the idea of creating a whole menu to celebrate doing so many things with just one fish. That was the start of the idea of the menu,” Wolfers says. “You celebrate it and keep it sustainable [with] organic vegetables or sustainable fish. It’s the same sort of ethos.”
Niland says he’s excited about the collaboration: “It’s nice to take the Saint Peter banner and throw it over another restaurant for an evening, and broadcast a bigger [sustainability] message inside the menu.”
Josh Niland and Adam Wolfers will team up for a special 10-course dinner at Gerard’s Bistro on Thursday September 19. Tickets are $160 (paired wines available at an additional cost) and include a copy of Niland’s new book The Whole Fish Cookbook: New Ways to Cook, Eat and Think. Tickets are available here.